PENANG, 4 May 2009: The PAS-PKR conflict in wanting to field their respective candidates for the Penanti state seat by-election is seen as a strategy to draw Barisan Nasional’s (BN) interest to contest in the by-election.
The deputy dean of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Social Science, Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said such a strategy was also to make it look as though there was tension in the constituency.
“This is part of the psychological warfare by both parties. It was the same in the run-up to the Kuala Terengganu (parliamentary seat) by-election and in the end, PAS fielded its candidate there,” he said when contacted by Bernama, here, today.
Sivamurugan said the dissension portrayed by the two parties was also aimed at gaining support from the voters and the local community.
“The voters must make a wise choice in a democratic system that has been in practice for more than 50 years,” he said.
The PAS-PKR conflict started when the PAS Youth insisted on fielding its party candidate, supposedly to fulfil the grassroots’ wish for the seat to go to PAS although it is not a party stronghold.
However, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had said that he did not want the party members to create problems by going against the agreement reached by the PAS-DAP-PKR pact by demanding that PAS field its candidate in the by-election.
Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan Menteri Besar, also said that PAS must keep its promise made before with PKR on the allocation of seats.
Nomination of candidates for the Penanti by-election has been fixed for 23 May and polling for 31 May, following the resignation of the incumbent assemblyperson and Deputy Chief Minister I (DCM1) Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin to pursue further studies.
PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had decided to field Penang PKR liaison deputy chairperson Dr Mansor Othman, who will take over as DCM1 if he wins in the by-election.
In the last general election in 2008, Mansor, 56, contested against BN’s Muhamad Farid Saad for the Pulau Betong state seat, but lost by 294 votes when he polled 4,696 votes.
The Penanti constituency has 15,384 registered voters, 72.68% of them Malay Malaysians, 24.22% Chinese Malaysians, 2.39% Indian Malaysians and 0.71% other races. — Bernama